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Jun 15 2013

Councillor Diaries: Cllr Camilla Bath

cllr_camilla_bathCllr. Camilla Bath Diary- 14/15 May 2013

As a long-serving councillor, one of the most rewarding aspects of the job is being able to develop personal relationship with residents, really getting to know them and providing help where I can. The morning of the 14th began with a telephone call from a constituent of mine who is severely disabled and is currently living in a property which is unsuitable for her needs. I have helped both her and her mother previously with their desire to move to assisted living, as they both live together and care for each other.

They also sought my help regarding their ATOS assessment for the daughters disability allowance which they had recently undergone, and I was happy to be of assistance. She was appealing against a medical report which contained incorrect information and wanted me to go with her to the hearing for support. I helped escort her to her hearing and liaised with her GP who, on hearing about her problems, was willing to attend to give a testimony on her behalf. I’m pleased to say the outcome was a good one; not only was her appeal upheld but she will actually receive an increase in her benefit entitlement. A worthwhile end to a very long day!

On the following morning I arrived at the Civic Centre for 10am, as I was due to present awards, with the Mayor, to some local school children. This was something I felt very privileged and honoured to be asked to do as Chairman of the Governors for the school. The children were from WhitchurchFirstSchool, aged between 6 and 7, and were due to receive awards for winning a competition run by Stanmore college about culture, heritage and nature in Harrow. The Whitchurch children had won first prize for their photo stories about the places in Harrow they loved the most. I have been lucky to be a governor at Whitchurch since it was founded. Over the 20 years I have been involved with the school I’ve watched it grow from strength to strength. I am proud to say it was the first school in the borough to achieve an ‘Outstanding’ OFSTED rating.

At 4pm I had a meeting with a Teacher from a local school. As Governor Liaison member, Chairman of the School Placement Panel and school governor of three of our local schools, I am in regular contact with many teachers and Head Teachers. I am so very proud of the high standard of education in our borough and the excellent work by all our teaching staff to maintain this. Currently across London we have to find 90,000 extra places by 2015, a major task as Harrow’s high standard of education is very much in demand. As chairman of the school placement panel, a committee tasked with finding school places for children entering our school system (we have, over the last 9 months had to find places for an extra 550 children.) As resources become more and more stretched, it is an important part of our job as local representatives to make sure we find innovative ways to deal with these new challenges, in ways that minimise the effect on our children and continues our high standards.

At 5pm I was due home for the Peter Hinkley Trust for Young Musicians AGM, which was being held at my house. As Hon Treasurer I was required to present the accounts. This is something I am involved in outside of my Council work and feeds into both my interest in music and in helping support our borough’s children.

The PH Trust helps support children in studying in Harrow school or those whose parents live in the borough by offering interest free loans to purchase instruments, bursaries for student studying music at MusicCollege or University and grants towards attending national music courses – both instrumental and vocal.

At 7:30pm I attended a meeting for Harrow Nature Conservation Forum. HNCF is made up of volunteer warden who help maintain Harrow’s nature reserves. In Harrow we are very lucky to have 50 parks and open spaces, and ensuring that we keep these precious and treasured assets is a very important part of the Forum’s work. The volunteer wardens do a wonderful job and it is due their dedication and experience that our nature reserves are some of the best in the country.

I am passionate about conservation and have been heavily involved in the work that is currently being undertaken to restore the Furze Heath and Greensward in Bentley Priory to how it was in the Victorian era. This is being achieved by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is currently in the second year of a three year project.

We are very appreciative of the support we have received from the fund for the Bentley Priory project and I am very privileged to be both Chairman of the Management Committee and Project Manager on the Strategic Committee.

More information on the Harrow Nature Conservation Forum and its work, including the Bentley Priory project, can be found on its website http://harrowncf.org.

I was home by 11pm; grabbing a well-needed cup of coffee before answering some emails, and finished at the usual time of about 1am. I suppose that’s my own fault for having late-night coffee!

Source: Harrow Conservatives

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